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Applying the Character Quality of Generosity

Generosity vs. Stinginess

3 min

Generosity is demonstrating the nature of God by wisely reinvesting the resources that He has entrusted to us.

Several Biblical words describe the concepts that make up generosity. First and most important is that of love. The Biblical word for love is charity, which embodies giving to the poor and needy. The Apostle John said that love without giving is hypocrisy. (See I John 3:17.)

The second Biblical word is sowing, because generosity follows the laws of the harvest. The more generous we are in sowing, the greater will be our harvest in true riches. (See II Corinthians 9:6.)

Another word describing generosity is distributing. One Greek word for distribute is koinoneo, which has the rich meaning of fellowship among believers. We are to give (koinoneo) to the needs of the saints. (See Romans 12:13.)

The word grace is also related to generosity. Paul used this word in praising the Gentile believers for their liberal distribution of gifts to the saints in Jerusalem and to all men. He went on to explain that it was through God’s grace that they had the means to give. (See II Corinthians 9:8.)

The Rewards of Generosity

Many people refuse to be generous because they falsely believe that what they give, they lose. Yet the opposite is true. Those who are generous receive far more than they give.

Those who are generous receive far more than they give.

A Bright Countenance

Generosity is at the very heart of the nature of God, and because God is light, those who are generous share in His brightness. When Jesus spoke of giving, He related it to the eyes. A good eye is a generous eye, and a stingy eye is an evil eye. (See Matthew 6:19–23.)

The Love of the Lord

“God loveth a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9:7). The love that God has for a generous giver is an agapao love, which is a giving love. Thus, when we give to others cheerfully, God gives back to us.

The Fear of the Lord

The great reward of the fear of the Lord is described in Proverbs 22:4: “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life.” This fear is learned by generosity. “Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed …. That thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always” (Deuteronomy 14:22–23).

Treasures in Heaven

The promise of treasures in heaven was given to the rich young ruler if he would exercise generosity. “Go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me” (Mark 10:21).

Victory Over the “Root of Evil”

Generosity breaks the bondage of greed and overcomes the love of money. The love of money gives us the illusion that our lives are made up of the things that we possess. It also makes us idolaters when we expect from money what only God can provide.

Escape From Lusts and Sorrows

Those who desire to be rich “fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts…. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Timothy 6:9–10).

Give as God Directs

The goal of generosity is to demonstrate the love of God so that others will be drawn to Him. When a person in need receives an anonymous gift that meets the need, God is glorified and the giver is in line for eternal rewards.

If we give with the motivation of public praise, we receive the praise of people, but lose out on the greater rewards that come from God. “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:3-4).

Personal Evaluation

  • Do you see God as the Provider of all wealth?
  • Do you view yourself as a steward of God’s resources?
  • Have you dedicated all your resources to God?
  • Are you living as frugally as you can so you have more to reinvest?
  • When you give, do you base it on what you can afford or on what God can provide through you?
  • Have you rejected the goal of being rich in money, but made it your goal to be rich in good works?
  • How often have you sacrificed things you wanted in order to give to the needs of others?
Explore more about this topic in The Power for True Success

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